Hilo, Hawaii is many things. A pretty town it ain’t (though the surrounding areas are beautiful). A foodie Valhalla? Nope. A gateway to great adventure is its best claim to fame (waterfalls, hikes, valleys and volcanoes). It’s like Hue, Vietnam or Mazatlan, Mexico or Bakersfield, CA…you probably came here to go somewhere else.
With that in mind The Monster pretty much throws a dart at lunch spots and hopes for the best. Naung Mai Thai it is.
Papaya salad. Chicken satay with peanut sauce. Garlic stir fry with shrimp. Keeping it simple seems the best bet.
The salad is fine enough. Huge portion. Papaya is certainly fresh in Hawaii. Wish it brought some more flavor and nuance to the mix. Pretty good start.
Satay is not served on the traditional skewer but again the portion is mighty and the food pleasing. Peanut sauce needs a little help however as it is a tad bland.
The shrimp, ordered spicy, is anything but. Ask for some hot sauce to give it the jazz it needs. This is the weak link on the chain.
Decent enough eats with friendly and fast service in a pleasing space. Hilo is not know for epicurean delight so it’s more about recharging the battery than fine dining and this does the trick. Because really, you came for this…
Why go? Adventure awaits.
Monster rating: 2½/5 Monsters
86 Kilauea Avenue
Hilo, HI 96720